NHL Rumor Mill – May 26, 2023
More speculation and suggestions for the Hurricanes plus the latest on the Blackhawks in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
WHAT SHOULD THE HURRICANES DO DURING THE OFFSEASON?
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Following the Carolina Hurricanes’ elimination from the Eastern Conference Final, Adam Proteau examined three areas they must address during the offseason.
Proteau believes the Hurricanes need to get bigger and better on their forward lines. He suggested perhaps Boston’s Tyler Bertuzzi and/or Philadelphia’s James van Riemsdyk, who are both slated to become unrestricted free agents on July 1.
Addressing the goaltending is another area to address. Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta are also UFAs on July 1 while promising Pyotr Kochetkov has just 27 games of NHL experience under his belt. He also believes they shouldn’t touch their defense corps.
DAILY FACEOFF: Matt Larkin believes the Hurricanes should trade for a superstar “no matter the cost”. While they play a strong team game under head coach Rod Brind’Amour, they haven’t had a 40-goal scorer, a 90-point scorer or a player among the top-15 in scoring over the past five seasons.
Larkin noted the Hurricanes attempted to acquire Matthew Tkachuk from the Calgary Flames prior to his getting traded last summer to the Panthers. They also pushed hard to get Timo Meier from the San Jose Sharks before he was shipped to the New Jersey Devils before the March trade deadline.
Could Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell be willing to do the same this summer? Larkin wondered if he’d part with players like Andrei Svechnikov or Brett Pesce or Seth Jarvis if someone like Toronto’s Mitch Marner became available in the trade market.
Lavalette anticipates they’ll find a way to re-sign Aho but Teravainen’s future is more uncertain. Given his struggles this season, he could be on his way out.
Martin Necas had a breakout performance this season and is heading into the final season of his bridge deal. Lavalette wonders if the Hurricanes will be willing to commit to Necas long-term. If not, his value in the trade market will never be higher while his cap hit ($3 million) is so low.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes have over $24 million in cap space for next season with 17 active roster players under contract. Sorting out the goaltending will be a priority but it shouldn’t eat up much cap space if they bring back Andersen on a short-term deal given the limited depth in this summer’s trade and free-agent markets.
Adding a superstar is easier said than done. Yes, the Panthers landed Matthew Tkachuk last summer in a blockbuster move. However, such deals are rare, expensive and risky. The Hurricanes have the assets in terms of young players, prospects and cap space to pull it off. Whether they can find an available superstar this summer remains to be seen. Their willingness to get into a bidding war to land one is also up for debate.
LATEST ON THE BLACKHAWKS
THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers recently brought us up to speed on what he’s hearing about the Chicago Blackhawks’ offseason plans.
For starters, don’t expect a major draft surprise from the Blackhawks regarding the first-overall pick. They’re definitely using it to select top prospect Connor Bedard.
The Blackhawks aren’t optimistic about moving up in the draft order with the first-rounder (19th overall) they got from the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Vancouver Canucks (11th overall) might make the most sense given their need to shed salary for next season. Powers wondered if the Canucks would be enticed to part with that pick if the Blackhawks offered to take on one of the contracts they’re trying to move by bundling the Lightning’s pick along with a second-rounder.
Powers indicated the Blackhawks are willing to listen to offers from clubs trying to offload contracts if it’ll bring them a high draft pick and/or a quality prospect. He also noted that they intend to keep their free-agent signings to short-term deals.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson wasted little time establishing a reputation as a wheeler-dealer during last year’s draft. Lacking a first-round pick entering that draft, he emerged with three of them which he used to select Kevin Korchinski, Frank Nazar and Sam Rinzel.
Don’t be surprised if Davidson finds a way to move up in the draft order by weaponizing his salary-cap space.